Every day for 10 years of marriage, Nick planted a kiss on his wife’s lips before leaving for work each morning – a kiss worthy of newlyweds.
Then, one cold day in January – a Tuesday – Gina was awoken by the sound of Nick’s car door slamming and his car pulling out of the driveway. This might not bother most wives, but it was so out of the ordinary Gina couldn’t help but feel something was “off.”
“Everything okay?” she texted, not recalling a fight or disagreement the night before that might have led to this highly unusual behavior from her husband.
The longer she stared at her phone waiting to hear what was wrong or what she’d done or why Nick was in an unusual rush that morning, the more disturbing scenarios came to mind.
What if he was angry with her over something she couldn’t remember, and he no longer felt like he could talk to her? No, our marriage is great.
What if he was having an affair, and he didn’t kiss her out of guilt? No, not Nick; not after seeing his mother cheat on his father.
What if he went out to warm up the car and some thug carjacked him, forcing Nick to drive him away at gunpoint? Yes. That had to be it.
Gina knew these thoughts were crazy. She wasn’t usually one to be so irrational. That’s just how much that morning kiss meant to the two of them. They’d both come from broken homes and promised themselves the day they moved in together that they would never become one of “those couples” who stopped doing and appreciating the little things.
Have we become one of “those couples?” Gina wondered.
She decided to set her phone down, count to ten, and calm down.
That didn’t work.
She texted again. Now she was genuinely worried about him. What if something was wrong, or there was an emergency at work?
Still no answer.
Gina decided to take a shower and act like everything was normal. It was, right?
As she stepped out of that shower though, she was startled by the sound of her front door being locked. Nick worked until the evening. She should have been there alone. What if she was right about the carjacking and the thief came back after doing something to Nick?
Gina hurriedly wrapped a towel around herself and grabbed the only weapon she could find – the toilet plunger from the master bathroom. She knew she looked ridiculous, and not much of a threat, but she would be damned if she was going down without a fight.
She moved back into the bedroom so she could better hear what was happening in the house. It seemed quiet. She started breathing easier. But that didn’t last long.
*thud thud thud*
The loud, awkward banging of heavy footsteps on the stairs sucked the breath right out of Gina. Someone was definitely in the house.
The bedroom door started to open, and she moved closer, armed with her plunger, terrified, but ready for a fight.
Gina didn’t even wait to see who stepped through the door. She swung. Hard.
“Oww!” shrieked a familiar voice as a large bouquet, now missing most of its flower heads, fell to the floor.
Gina, half frozen in fear, half relieved to see Nick standing before her hadn’t even realized she’d dropped her towel when she went to battle with a bouquet of roses. She was too busy screaming at her husband.
“What are you doing?” she demanded. “Where were you? Why aren’t you at work? Why didn’t you respond to my texts? I was so worried. You left without kissing me goodbye…”
Nick, never much for words, just looked his frantic wife up and down and laughed. He could tell she wasn’t amused though and quickly handed her an envelope to make amends.
Confused, Gina opened it. Her eyes began to tear up, making Nick feel a little guilty for making her worry.
“I hid them at the office so I could surprise you,” said Nick. “I thought I’d be back before you woke up.”
In the envelope was an anniversary card. And in that card were two tickets to Paris – a trip the couple had hoped to take for their honeymoon, but they couldn’t afford it at the time.
“Really?” Gina asked in disbelief. “I thought we were celebrating this weekend.”
“I’m sorry I didn’t kiss you before I left,” said Nick, moving closer and putting his arms around his wife to make up for his earlier mistake.
“You’re cold!” Gina shrieked, jumping back.
“You’re naked,” he said, pulling her close again. “Maybe we can start that second honeymoon a little early?”